The Festival of Happiness – Happy Chhath Puja 2020
Chhath means ‘6’ or ‘sixth’ and it takes place during the sixth day of Shasthi, the lunar fortnight of Karthik (Months October to November). This festival is a Hindu festival, celebrated mostly in the Eastern States of India, namely, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Nepal.
This festival is a tribute to the Sun God and is celebrated by worshipping Surya by the riverside. Believers trust that the Sun God will bless their lives by bringing forth prosperity, harmony, and joy into their lives. This festival is celebrated for four days where the whole premise of the celebration is vibrant with the songs and rituals representing the ancient cultures and traditions of India.
The History Associated with the Chhath Puja | Happy Chhath Puja 2020
Many pieces of history reflect on the festival of the Chhath Puja. The yogic history of the Chhath Puja goes back to the Vedic times where the ‘Rishis’ used this method to stay alive without consuming food. They were able to stay alive by obtaining energy from the sunlight. They did this using the rituals of the Chhath Puja. Another belief is that when Lord Rama and Mata Sita fasted together, they offered puja to the Sun God during the month of Karthik, during their coronation when they came back to Ayodhya after being exiled for 14 years. Since then, Chhath Puja has been seen as an important festival in the Hindu religion.
The Legends of the Chhath Puja
The Story of The King and His Barren Wife
The Legend of Chhath Puja comes from a long time ago, to the time where a king named ‘Priyabrat’ and his wife ‘Malini’ lived. They lived happily except they had no child and that was caused too much misery. So with the help of their Maharishi Kashyap, they arranged a big Yagya to be blessed with a child. The Yagya was successful and Rani Malini got pregnant. Although the initial conception was successful, she had a miscarriage and delivered a dead child after nine months. King Priyabrat was heartbroken and decided to commit suicide.
Right before the king committed suicide, the Goddess Khashti appeared and said, “I’m an incarnation of the sixth part of the universe. If you worship me with pure mind and soul for six days, you will be blessed with a child.” So the King and his Queen worshipped the Goddess and was later rewarded with a beautiful baby boy. Since then, people have worshipped ChhathiMaiya (the Shashti Goddess) and celebrated the Chhath Puja.
The Story of Pandava
History of the Chhath Puja reveals an interesting story. It has been said that while the Pandavas were in exile in the forest, they were in so much misery that one day, Draupadi started crying and seeing this, Yuddhisthira went to Dhoumya and asked for a solution for their misery. Dhoumya Muni told Yuddhisthira that the food grains that maintain the life on planet Earth are a direct embedment of the Sun God, thereby making the Sun God their father. He told him that the people who worship the Sun God on the sixth and seventh days of the fortnight of Shukla Paksha during Karthik with a pure heart and chant the 108 names of Surya, get rewarded in the forms of children, wealth, wisdom, endurance, and gems.
After this enlightenment by Dhoumya Muni, Yuddhisthira started worshipping the Sun God. Pleased by his faith, the Sun God appeared to Yuddhisthira and gave him a copper vessel possessing magical powers. The Sun God told him that four types of meals could be cooked using the magical vessel and its powers should last until Draupadi, the five Pandavas’ wife, took her meal. This is how the Pandavas came out of their misery. Therefore, it is believed that by worshipping the Sun God at Chhath puja, the worshippers will be relieved from their pain and suffering and will be rewarded with the fulfilment of all their desires.
Interesting Rituals of The Chhath Puja Observed Traditionally
The Chhath Puja is a celebration to offer gratitude to the Sun God for bestowing us with blessings and providing our planet with life and energy.
The traditional method of celebrating Chhath Puja prevents a devotee from eating or drinking anything for more than a day (36 hours). There are four days involved in the Puja.
Day One: Naha Khay (Bathe and Eat)
During this day, the believer bathes in the Ganges River and collects some holy water from the river to take home to prepare Prasad.
Day Two: Kharna
On this day the devotees have to observe a long day fast (without water). They fast for a whole day and end it in the evening after worshipping ChhathiMaiya and eating Prasad. The offering also called Prasad, are made of Rasiao-kheer (rice cooked in milk), Purisor rotis and bananas. This offering is shared among neighbours and family members.
Day Three: Sandhya Aghya
On this day, devotees again fast and go without food or water. They use the whole day to prepare the puja offerings for the afternoon. All of the offerings (also called the Arghya) will be kept in a Dauri (a basket that has been made from bamboo sticks), Supali (made of finer bamboo sticks) or in a metal basket. The offerings are comprised of Thekua, Puri, Coconut, Banana, Apple, Orange, and other seasonal fruits.
To do evening rituals, people go to the banks of the river or pond or other clear water bodies. All the Vrattis, family members, friends, and neighbours get together there and give Sandhya Arghya (evening offerings) to the Sun God.
Kosi (Kosiya): Kosibharna or Kosiyaa spectacular, glowing and beautiful event during Chhath Pooja. After the Sandhya Arghya or SanjhiyaGhaat, in angna or the courtyard of the house, Kosi is celebrated. In most cases, Kosi is pots that are kept under the shade of five sugarcane sticks or twenty-four sugar cane sticks that have been tied together using a yellow cloth. This same ritual of Kosi is celebrated on the ghats during early mornings before Bhorwa, Bihani or Morning Arghya.
Day Four: BhorwaGhat (Morning Arghya) or Bihaniya
This is the last or can say the final day of this auspicious and holy festival. The devotees come together at the river bank with their family and friends to offer bhorwaarghya (morning offerings) to the Sunrise. After arghya, devotees knee-down at the ghat to worship ChathiMaiya, distribute thekua and then come back to home.
After their return from the ghat, the devotees or the vrattis take blessings of the elderly and later have some ginger with water to break the fast.
Then different types of delicious foods are made to serve the vratti.
This is part of the ritual is of utmost importance. During the festival, the female folks spend their night by singing traditional Chhath songs like-
- Kelawajeyfarelaghawadsey… oh par soogamandaraaye…..
- Paiseejagawesuruj mal keamma…..
- Hey uditanaatha…hogelobihaan…..
- Roonkijhunkibetimaangilapadhalapanditadamaad hey Chhathimaiya…..
- Bhaiya mora jaayelamahangamoonger…..
- Saamakhelechalaali… bhouji sang saheli ho…..
- Kaachikaachibaanskebahangiya…bahangilachkatjaye… Etc.
During this festival in the month of Kartik, eating any non-vegetarian item by the Vratti and the family member is strictly prohibited. The food is strictly vegetarian and is cooked with utter carefulness without onion, salt, and garlic.
Once in any family, the lady folk starts performing Chhath Puja, the tradition is continued year after year by the successive generation. If unable to fast or perform the traditions due to some reasons, it is suggested that the arghya should be given by some other vratti. The vratti who cannot give arghya is said to fast. Helping a vrattiin the duration of the Chhath Puja is said to be the most auspicious thing or the best act of life as ChatthiMaiya showers her blessings on everyone.
There is also a tradition of “DandwatPranam” or “DandKhinchna” during Chhath Puja. Both men and women who have wished for success in something, take an oath to go to the Chhath Ghat by saluting and wearing simple cloth while on the floor. They start “DandwatPranaam” the moment after Chhath Daura starts arriving on the Ghat. With the help of a “Kanda” a type of stick easily found in the locality or fields, the devotee draws a circle by lying on the floor with the help of stomach and raising both their hands in “Pranaam Mudra”. After arriving on the Ghat after “Dand” the devotee bathes in the holy river and then proceeds to worshipChhathiMaiya.
The Benefits of Chhath Puja Process
Happy Chhath Puja 2020: This festival focuses on the faith and mental discipline of the believer. It aims to let the believer completer a sense of mental purity. The Puja and its many rituals focus on maintaining cleanliness as well as environmental safety in all its offerings. Cleanliness is of utmost importance.
This Puja helps the body go through mental and physical detoxification as it results in biochemical changes. The 36 hours fasting allows the body to obtain complete detoxification, ridding itself of any poisonous or harmful toxins.
A complete detox helps the devotee to be more energetic by maintaining the flow of Prana. The main purpose of our immune system is to fight toxins. It uses up most of our bodily energy to do this task. By obtaining complete detoxification using meditation, pranayama, yoga and Chhath rituals, our body now has more energy to do other things. This type of complete detoxification also improves skin texture, improves eyesight and reduces the ageing process.
There are also mental benefits from Chhath Puja. The festival paves the way for a sense of calm in the human mind. With more positive energy flowing into the brain, the negative responses of jealousy, anger, and others are vastly decreased. The gateway to your mind’s capabilities is unlimited. It all depends on the level of concentration that a devotee can conjure during the festival.
There are many ways to let your loved ones know that you are wishing them well on this auspicious festival. You could share status updates on WhatsApp, send them a Happy Chhath Puja SMS, or simply write an old fashioned letter. Either way, just let them know that you are thinking of them while celebrating this festival. Wish them goodwill and success through Happy Chhath Puja SMS and just show them that you love and cherish them.